Have you ever thought of making a Fruity Focaccia? I know I never thought about it, until I saw this beautiful Blueberry version over at Woman’s Day. [photo by Mary Ellen Bartley] Focaccia for me, is a savory yeasted bread, loaded with Italian flavors like rosemary, thyme, basil, maybe some caramelized sweet onions, olives, and lots of garlic! Something that I can enjoy with my pasta, or perhaps as an appetizer with a dipping sauce. Now imagine all this, just replace the savory with the sweet – and you get a beautiful adaptation that is a cross between a normal focaccia and a moist fruit bread.
Bursting with flavors of blueberries and lemon, this bread was great as it is. However, I couldn’t stop myself from adding a pinch of freshly chopped Rosemary to the dough, and I have to say it lends a lovely aromatic quality to the bread, as well as enhances the fruity flavor. Serve it warm, with melted butter, or some spreadable cream cheese – I promise you this will be a hit, even with kids!
Blueberry Focaccia Bread
Prep time: 20 mins
Total Time: 60 mins
1⁄2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp grated lemon zest
3 to 3 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
1 packet (1⁄4 oz) rapid-rise active dry yeast
3⁄4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp rosemary – finely chopped
1 1⁄4 cups whole milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1⁄2 stick (1⁄4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups blueberries
Pulse sugar and lemon zest in food processor until zest is finely ground and incorporated into the sugar. In a large bowl, whisk 1⁄3 cup of the lemon sugar, 3 cups of the flour, rosemary, the yeast and salt until blended.
Heat milk in a 2-cup measure in microwave on high 1 1⁄2 minutes, or until temperature registers 130°F on an instant-read thermometer; add to flour mixture with egg and butter.
Mix with a rubber spatula until a soft, sticky dough forms; scrape dough onto a floured surface. Using a dough scraper to assist, knead with some of the remaining 1⁄2 cup flour to form a smooth and pliable dough, about 2 minutes. Cover the dough with the mixing bowl, and let rest for 10 minutes, to allow it to rise.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide dough in half. Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, stretch and pat out on parchment into a 12-in. free-form rectangle, about 1⁄4 in. thick. Scatter with half the blueberries and half of the remaining lemon sugar.
On floured surface, pat out and stretch remaining dough slightly larger than the first piece and place over bottom dough. Press edges together and tuck under the loaf. Cover with a sheet of greased plastic wrap. Place baking sheet in a warm place.
Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to 350°F. With floured fingers, dimple surface of loaf with your fingertips, to remove air-pockets. Scatter top of loaf with remaining blueberries and lemon sugar. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown.
Slide the baked focaccia onto a wire rack and let it cool slightly. Then use a pairing knife to cut the bread into slices. Serve warm, with butter, cream cheese, or even whipped cream!
This Blueberry Focaccia is a unique take on making yeasted fruit breads, and I love the concept. The juice from the berries keeps it soft and moist, with an outer crust that feels just like bread. The lemon sugar is a lovely idea, and so is the rosemary. Feel free to bake it with your choice of berries or cherries.